Good Bye and Good Riddance to USEF membership

So it is the time of year to renew memberships, and I am VERY happy to not be renewing my USEF membership for the 2011 show year. I am not planning on doing any recognized shows this year, and while some organizations I will pay dues for no matter what, I do not feel that way about the USEF. I HATE the fact that they have set up the showing system in such a way that you are penalized for not being a USEF member. They will literally charge you a fee if you are not a member of their organization.

To me it reminds me of the old time Trusts. If you want something (to show Recognized) you have to pay for that service (become a member of USEF). At least AT&T and other companies had some competition. USEF doesn’t even have that. It is $55 wasted in my book because as an adult amateur I get nothing from USEF. They go on and on about their member perk program, but since I don’t own a farm I can’t see myself buying a tractor any time soon, nor can I afford to travel enough to make their hotel discounts worthwhile. I would never be eligible for a USEF award since they hardly give out any for dressage and those that they do are for high level riders.

I don’t even like their USEF magazine (Equestrian) so even that does not make the money I pay worthwhile. I feel like I pay in to something and I never get anything back. The penalty for not being a USEF member is $20 a show. What is worse is that USDF wont let you be eligible for their awards unless you are a USEF member. I am very excited to not be a part of this corrupt system anymore. You shouldn’t have to pay for a group you don’t believe in, so now I don’t have to and that makes me very excited!

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5 thoughts on “Good Bye and Good Riddance to USEF membership

  1. No argument here. However, if I want to show in my local chapter’s single-rated shows as an amateur, I must present a USEF Amateur card. Otherwise I’m lumped in with the open folks. There aren’t that many open riders, but it’s just the idea that I’m an ammy and want to “show with my own kind.” Ha.

    There are many complaints about USEF. They charge a lot for basically nothing. I subscribe to The Blood-Horse magazine which is $99 a year, but it’s a weekly publication, so spending $55 for the monthly Equestrian magazine, which has a cute cover every year of some little kid with his/her pony, is still a bit steep. Even their list of suspended/disciplined members is MONTHS old. Sometimes people’s transgressions are already over (and, we assume, fines paid) by the time we read about it.

    At my local dressage chapter’s last show, the judge watched a rider come in on her horse and said he knew her, that she had tried to escape without paying him for a bounced check at one of his shows. He tried to get her to make good on the bad check, but when she did not, he reported her to USEF. She stopped showing for a couple of years, and when she tried to join again, she had to pay what she owed him plus a hefty fine. He was quite happy with USEF because they stayed on top of things. His involvement with them is, however, much greater than the average owner/rider/exhibitor.

    What bugs me about them, too, is they publish a membership roster. They get all your information and then tell you if you want a copy of the roster, you have to pay for it. I think THAT is a ripoff, too.

  2. Over in hunterland we now have “Opportunity” classes (hunters and equitation), which are lower level classes for non-USEF-members. If you are only entered in those classes, you don’t have to pay the USEF fee. They were put into place in response to the state of the economy, in the hopes of making horse showing a little less expensive for those that are tight on funds right now but still want to participate, and for those with young or green horses that are testing the waters in the horse show world. Granted, the response from many was that the USEF fee is a drop in the bucket compared to all the other expenses of horse showing, but I do see that those classes fill at the horse shows, so there are definitely people taking advantage of the break.

    Sounds like they could use some “Opportunity” classes in dressage world too. I’m glad you feel good about saving the money this year though… and I agree with GHM, $55 buys a lot of treats!

  3. I hear you on USEF. I paid my dues for them AND USDF last year and didn’t go to a single show, but now I have to renew since I’m aiming for it next year… Can I have some rollover minutes? lol

  4. I am having a heck of time trying to reclaim my amateur status. They have been very difficult to say the least. I wasn’t going to renew but when I figured out the math, I’d be paying too much out of pocket to make not joining viable. I do appreciate that they police rated shows though and are tough on repeat offenders but there has to be a better way.

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